Category Archive: 33 Days

Resource Reminder – 33 Days And 33 Ways Series

A few months ago, I put together a series of posts, focused on helping readers save money and reduce debt.  I called the series 33 Days And 33 Ways To Save Money And Reduce Debt.  (Clever title, no?)  Since then, the number of folks visiting my site and subscribing to its feed has grown, and some of you might not be aware of the 33 Days series.  I hope you’ll check it out and read through the various posts.  Not only did I write about saving money and reducing debt, but several other personal finance writers did, as well.  Their posts are listed as ‘reaction posts’.

(You might ask, “Why 33 and not 30 or 31?”.  I wish I had a better answer, but the truth is, 3 is my favorite number, so I went with 33.)

If you have a website and you write a reaction post to any of the 33 Days articles, contact me and let me know.  I’ll be more than happy to add your post to the reaction section.

So, click on over, check out the 33 Days series, and prepare to start saving money and reducing your debt!

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Day 33 of 33 Days and 33 Ways To Save Money and Reduce Debt: Remember to Live a Little

The following is a guest post from Paid Twice – who writes about debt reduction, life, and creating a healthy financial future.  This post is also the long-awaited conclusion to my ‘33 Days And 33 Ways To Save Money And Reduce Debt‘ series.  I want to thank Paid Twice for her awesome article – and I encourage you to visit her awesome site – Paid Twice.

Day 33 of 33 Days and 33 Ways To Save Money and Reduce Debt:  Remember to Live a Little

Over the course of the 33 Days series, we’ve learned how to reduce expenses, increase income, avoid temptation, determine methods that work, and a host of other things that contribute to being in a position to reduce your debt or increase your savings.  NCN himself is a great example of what putting words into action can accomplish – not only did he eliminate all his debt, he also has set pretty high savings goals for himself, and even when he doesn’t meet them, he far exceeds any average expectations.

So it is my honor and pleasure to be able to wrap up the series with Day 33.  Instead of giving one more tip about saving money, or another insight into reducing expenses, I am going to share with you the part that often in our drive, focus, and single-mindedness in following our debt reduction or savings plans, is forgotten or overlooked.

Don’t forget to live a little.

If you don’t build into your savings, budget, and/or debt reduction a little bit of freedom to enjoy what life has to offer, the chance of burnout or a major budget-breaking failure increases.  If you feel completely and utterly beaten down and controlled by your budget, the whole thing can fall apart because it is too hard and unmanageable.  We’re learning habits here to last a lifetime, and one of those is to be able to balance discipline with enjoyment when it comes to our finances.  If we completely and utterly deny ourselves, we’re teaching ourselves that money isn’t meant to be enjoyed.  And it is, within reason.  We earn the money to make our lives more enjoyable, and we need to recognize that.

This is not an excuse to give yourself ton of fun money every month.  You do need to change those spending habits and learn how to become a good steward of your finances.  This is not license to buy every new gadget, DVD, article of clothing, or whatever else you might have been tempted to spend on that comes your way.  No, it is not a good idea to eat out every single meal every single day.  That hasn’t changed.  But we should be able to compromise and find a middle ground where we can appreciate the little things in life while still meeting and exceeding our goals for the future.  Not every latte is inherently evil.  A good life can be lived in moderation.

Define an amount you feel is appropriate per month, or milestones at which you will give yourself a little (specific amount of) celebration money, and then give yourself the freedom to indulge just a little bit.  Rome wasn’t build in a day, and debt elimination or meeting your yearly savings goals won’t happen overnight.  Don’t sabotage your entire plan by making it so restrictive that you despise it.  Understand what reasonable is, it may only be a few dollars a month, or it may be $25 or even $100.  Make sure it makes sense with the rest of your financial goals.  Life changes are being built here – a good plan is one that we can adjust for a lifetime of positive habits.

Just give yourself room to live a little.  Life still happens no matter what your goals are.  And all of our lives should feel like they are worth living.

Again, I want to thank Paid Twice for the awesome post.  And, I second everything she wrote.  When you visit her site, let her know that NCN sent you!

As most of you know, my wife is expecting our third child.  While ‘baby number 3′ still hasn’t arrived, we are very, very busy, getting ready for her birth.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll feature original content, written by me, and several guest posts, written by some of my favorite personal finance bloggers.  I appreciate your loyalty and patience, as we prepare for and enjoy the birth of our little girl.

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Day 32 of 33 Days And 33 Ways To Save Money And Reduce Debt: Decide Which Debt To Attack First

Click here to read all of the 33 Days And 33 Ways To Save Money And Reduce Debt posts.

Day 32: Decide Which Debt To Attack First

For the purpose of this post, when you read attack, think ‘send extra payment to‘.

After making minimum monthly payments to all of your creditors, it’s time to pick a specific debt to attack first.

If you want to pay the lowest amount of total interest – attack the debt with the highest interest rate.

If you want to receive an emotional boost and see en entire debt paid off – attack the debt with the lowest current balance.

If you want to feel good about being out of a specific type of debt (regardless of balance or rate) – attack the debt that ‘bothers you the most‘. (Think personal loan, payday loan, credit card debit, IRS debt, etc.)

You can send one extra payment every month – or you can make multiple extra payments every month. Either way, pick a debt and attack it!

I look forward to reading your comments -Click here to read all of the 33 Days And 33 Ways To Save Money And Reduce Debt posts.

Observant readers will note that this series has taken much longer than 33 days. I can assure you, I am blogging as often as life permits.

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Day 31 of 33 Days And 33 Ways To Save Money And Reduce Debt: Stay Away From The Mall

Click here to read all of the 33 Days And 33 Ways To Save Money And Reduce Debt posts.

Day 31:  Stay Away From The Mall

I am sitting in a hotel room near the Mall of Georgia.  Located near Atlanta, the Mall of Georgia is the “largest mall in Georgia and one of the largest malls in America”.  We have a family event planned for tomorrow morning, so our entire family is staying here tonight.  We have just returned from the mall – and I was inspired to write this post.

If you want to save money, stay away from the mall.  Just. Stay. Away.

Four years ago, before we started getting out of debt, we stayed in this same hotel and we went shopping at the Mall of Georgia.  I have no idea how much stuff we purchased – but I do remember that we had a difficult time squeezing it all into the trunk of our car.

Tonight, we went to the mall for ‘just a few minutes’ – ‘just to walk around’ – and I was shocked by the size of the place, the massive size of its parking lot, and the huge volume of people.  Once inside, we were bombarded by the sound of music, the smell of fast food, and the hum of conversation.

There were people everywhere, spending money, on everything from golf clubs to blue jeans, big cookies to washing machines.  And, for a moment, a single, solitary, moment, I wanted to be “one of them”.

I wanted to throw my budget out the window and buy, buy, buy!

But, of course, I didn’t.  I just walked around with my family, looked at a new set of golf clubs, did a little people-watching, and went back to the car.  Sure, it would have been fun to buy some ‘stuff’ –  But, the truth is, I don’t really need anymore ‘stuff’.

It’s easy to be content when we are at home, happy with our family.  But, when we surround ourselves with people who are spending money, it’s very, very easy to get ‘sucked in’.  Instead of being happy with that ‘comfortable pair of shoes’ – we convince ourselves that our shoes ‘look bad and need replacing’.  That hand-me-down bike?  Looks great when Billy is riding it around in the backyard – not so great when compared to the brand new Z43X-W Super-Speed at the sporting goods store.

May I suggest that you do yourself a favor and avoid the pressure and temptation of the mall?  If you MUST go – go with a list, make your purchases, and get out as fast as is possible! :)

I look forward to reading your comments –

Click here to read all of the 33 Days And 33 Ways To Save Money And Reduce Debt posts.Observant readers will note that this series has taken much longer than 33 days. I can assure you, I am blogging as often as life permits.

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